Robert Pitt

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Sir Robert Pitt (1680 – 21 May 1727) was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1705 to 1727. He was the father and grandfather of two prime ministers, William Pitt the elder and William Pitt the younger.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham 18th-century British statesman

William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, was a British statesman of the Whig group who served twice as Prime Minister of Great Britain in the middle of the 18th century. Historians call him Pitt of Chatham, or William Pitt the Elder, to distinguish him from his son, William Pitt the Younger, who also was a prime minister. Pitt was also known as The Great Commoner, because of his long-standing refusal to accept a title until 1766.


Early life

Pitt was the eldest son of Governor Thomas 'Diamond' Pitt, a businessman who had made a fortune while in India. [1] Governor Pitt built the family's wealth on his acquisition of the Pitt Diamond which he then sold on for a large profit. The diamond was brought into Britain in the heel of Robert Pitt's boot. [2] In 1704, Pitt married Harriet Villiers, [3] the daughter of Edward Villiers-FitzGerald and the Irish heiress Katherine FitzGerald.

Regent Diamond diamond

The Regent Diamond is a 141-carat (28.2 g) diamond owned by the French state and on display in the Louvre, worth as of 2015 £48,000,000. It is widely considered the most beautiful and the purest diamond in the world.

Kingdom of Ireland Historical kingdom on the island of Ireland between 1542 and 1801

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.

A beneficiary in the broadest sense is a natural person or other legal entity who receives money or other benefits from a benefactor. For example, the beneficiary of a life insurance policy is the person who receives the payment of the amount of insurance after the death of the insured.

Political career

In 1705 Pitt was returned as Member of Parliament for Old Sarum, a pocket borough controlled by his family. He retained the seat at the 1708 general election, but in 1710 was not put forward by his father and was returned instead on his own account as MP for Salisbury. He came third in the poll at Salisbury at the 1713 general election but his father then put him up at Old Sarun again where he was returned. [4] At the 1715 general election Pitt stood for Parliament at Old Sarum and Salisbury but was only returned for Old Sarum. At the 1722 general election he stood at Old Sarum and Okehampton, and chose to take the seat at Okehampton, where he remained until his death. [5] Unlike the rest of his family, who were Whigs, Robert Pitt became a Tory possibly partly in resistance to his domineering Whig father. [6]

Old Sarum (UK Parliament constituency) Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom

Old Sarum was from 1295 to 1832 a parliamentary constituency of England, of Great Britain, and finally of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was a so-called rotten borough, with an extremely small electorate that was consequently vastly over-represented and could be used by a patron to gain undue influence. The constituency was on the site of what had been the original settlement of Salisbury, known as Old Sarum. The population had moved to New Sarum at the foot of the hill and at a confluence known as the cathedral city of Salisbury in the 14th century. The constituency was abolished under the Reform Act 1832.

1708 British general election

The 1708 British general election was the first general election to be held after the Acts of Union had united the Parliaments of England and Scotland.

1710 British general election

The 1710 British general election produced a landslide victory for the Tories in the wake of the prosecution of Henry Sacheverell and the collapse of the previous Whig government led by Godolphin and the Whig Junto. In November 1709 the clergyman Henry Sacheverell had delivered a sermon fiercely criticising the government's policy of toleration for Protestant dissenters and attacking the personal conduct of the ministers. The government had Sacherevell impeached, and he was narrowly found guilty but received only a light sentence, making the government appear weak and vindictive; the trial enraged a large section of the population, and riots in London led to attacks on dissenting places of worship and cries of "Church in Danger".

Death and family

Boconnoc House, Cornwall Boconnoc Estate3.jpg
Boconnoc House, Cornwall

Pitt inherited the family estate of Boconnoc following his father's death in 1726. However, he died the next year. He left two sons and five daughters. His elder son Thomas Pitt was also an MP who sat for Okehampton and the Pitt estate passed entirely to him. His second son was William Pitt the Elder, a British statesmen who led the country three times in 1756–57, 1757–1762 and 1766–1768. His daughter Harriott married William Corbet. His grandson William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister in 1783. Pitt was also brother-in-law to General James Stanhope, through his sister Lucy Pitt.

Boconnoc civil parish in Cornwall, England

Boconnoc is a civil parish in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, approximately four miles east of the town of Lostwithiel. According to the 2011 census the parish had a population of 96.

Thomas Pitt of Boconnoc politician

Thomas Pitt, of Boconnoc, Cornwall, was a British landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1727 and 1761. He was Lord Warden of the Stannaries from 1742 to 1751.

Okehampton was a parliamentary borough in Devon, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons in 1301 and 1313, then continuously from 1640 to 1832, when the borough was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

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  1. Black pp. 1–5
  2. Brown pp. 15–16
  3. "Lady Harriet Villiers (I3347)". University of Stanford.
  4. "PITT, Robert (c.1680-1727), of Golden Square, London; Forty Hall, Forty Hill, nr. Enfield, Mdx.; and Mawarden Court, Stratford sub Castle, Wilts". History of Parliament Online (1690-1715). Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  5. "PITT, Robert (?1680-1727), of Stratford, Wilts". History of Parliament Online (1715-1754). Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  6. Brown p. 17


Parliament of England
Preceded by
William Harvey
Charles Mompesson
Member of Parliament for Old Sarum
With: Charles Mompesson
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Old Sarum
With: Charles Mompesson 1707–1708
William Harvey 1708–1710
Succeeded by
Thomas Pitt
William Harvey
Preceded by
Robert Eyre
Charles Fox
Member of Parliament for Salisbury
With: Charles Fox
Succeeded by
Charles Fox
Richard Jones
Preceded by
Thomas Pitt
William Harvey
Member of Parliament for Old Sarum
With: Thomas Pitt 1713–1716, 1722
Sir William Strickland 1716–1722
Succeeded by
Thomas Pitt
George Morton Pitt
Preceded by
Christopher Harris
William Northmore
Member of Parliament for Okehampton
With: John Crowley
Succeeded by
William Northmore
Thomas Pitt